Rock Solid Man

Introducing the best gear to up your alpine game. (And just maybe get the attention of that climber girl.)

1. I/O Men’s Signature Graphic Tee Shirt

Over time cotton shirts lose their shape, and Polypro gets stinky or balled-up. I’ve worn this same shirt through half a dozen multi-day climbs, and ice routes over several years. Throughout this time it has maintained its original shape, color and softness, meaning I can still wear it to meetings aftrerward. It’s soft against the skin, odor free and durable. Plus, merino wool is sustainable, quick drying and breathable. $69; 

2. Columbia Ultrachange

Featuring thermal reflective material on both the liner, this layering piece is two jackets in one. The shell is seam-sealed and made of Columbia’s Omni Dry and Omni-Wick Evap water- and wind-proof breathable materials and weighs just 11.2 ounces. Big plus? The hood fits over a helmet.  The compressible liner, with stretch panels, is made of Omni Heat reflective fabric and it doubles as an effective puffy belay jacket. $450; 

3. Native Eyewear Andes

Sporty yet not dorky, the Andes offer up ventilated air frames, interchangeable lenses, durable frames, soft temple grips and nose pads. And since they can take so much damage on the rock, they come with a rigid case and replacement lenses. $129–$149; 

4. Smartwool Microweight Boxers

When conditions get cold and nasty, you don’t want it to be your underwear that causes hypothermia. These slightly baggy merino wool boxers are soft against the skin and stay warm even when wet. $48; 

5. Smartwool TML Light Full Zip Hoody

Constructed of form-fitting merino wool and stretchy Elastane, the Full Zip Hoody combines the softness and temperature regulating features of merino wool with alpine friendly additions like contoured sleeves, thumbholes, form-fitting hood (which fits under a helmet), zip chest pocket and two side pockets with low-profile zippers. $190; 

6. Arc’teryx Gamma AR Pant

Climbing pants are expensive but worth it. The alternative—often jeans—will leave you cold and wet on alpine rock routes. As a rule, I never wear cotton on routes over three pitches in length. Enter the medium weight Arc’teryx Gamma AR pant. Wind and rain resistant. Breathable, stretchy and highly abrasion resistant—it’s ideal for climbing big, exposed walls like the Diamond. The easy access side-leg pocket holds essentials such as a route topo, camera and jerky. $189; 

7. Deuter ACT Trail 24

Big enough to carry what you need without wasting space, the ACT Trail 24 is a multi-use pack made with ripstop nylon and featuring a ventilated back. A zipper wraps around the outside of the pack allowing access to any item from within, without unpacking from the top—a godsend when you’re on a steep slope, ridge or summit of a tower. Other smart features include a side-access panel, snow shovel pocket, two ice axe clip-in points and a built–in rainfly. We even used the surdy side clips to hold a tripod. $119;

8. Metolius Safe Tech Trad 

This harness delivers safe performance with a locking speed buckle and reinforcement all over. The four burly gear loops are perfect for clipping your pack to during belay changeovers. Even the belay loop is backed up. $99;

9. Petzl Ange Finesse Quickdraws with Ange S/Ange L

The Ange is very similar to Petzl’s classic Spirit quickdraw, but improved to be lighter (34 grams per carabiner) and more versatile. The String S, a durable, rubber bungee, effectively keeps bottom ‘biner in alignment. The single wire wire-gates (Monofill Keylock) don’t freeze and are less prone to gate flutter than standard gates. Single wire gates don’t tangle up with your micro-nuts. This baby is equally at home on sport, trad and alpine routes. Available with slinky 10cm or 17cm Dyneema slings. $26 each, $125 for set of five;

10. evolv Cruzers

Great for a light bouldering session or jamming up easy routes when you don’t want hot, tight climbing shoes, Cruzers are lighter and more malleable than traditional approach shoes. They can be clipped out of the way on the back of your harness when doing long routes and they convert into a slipper mode—much appreciated when walking from route to route at Rifle. $80; • 

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